Published January 08, 2015
(SportsNetwork.com) - Forget all the white noise.
When it came to the Adrian Peterson punishment, the only real issue was whether Roger Goodell was going to temper the tyrannical act or return to his default settings as judge, jury and executioner of all things related to personal conduct in the NFL.
That was answered Tuesday when "Moral Roger" resurfaced, taking on his "700 Club" persona to not only suspend Peterson for at least the remainder of the 2014 season but also pontificate from a horse so high, the Guinness Book of World Records was called in to document the height of his soap box.
"You have shown no meaningful remorse for your conduct," commissioner Goodell wrote, no doubt wagging his finger as he made blanket assertions involving a culture he knows little about.
"The well-being of your children is of paramount concern," Goodell continued. "In the absence of speaking to you to understand your current disposition toward child discipline, we cannot be sure that this conduct will not be repeated. Moreover, we are unaware of any effort on your part to acknowledge the seriousness of your conduct and your responsibility to demonstrate a genuine commitment to change."
Absence being the key word there.
Here's all you need to know about "Moral Roger." Genuflect in front of him and get two games for knocking your significant other out cold -- at least until public sentiment is polled and double jeopardy becomes nothing more than a cute idea that things like courts have to abide by. Fail to curtsy, however, and you're banished until the King says so.
"To be so hypocritically self-righteous about Adrian not showing significant remorse. Who in the hell does he think he is?" Rusty Hardin, Peterson's attorney, said on ESPN Radio Wednesday.
The world's worst arbiter continues to move forward with no checks and balances, the type of despotic behavior that got him in trouble in the first place.
"And now the NFL has decided that they are going to be the arbiter of what is appropriate discipline for a child and whether a person is or is not feeling significant remorse," Hardin said. "It's just unbelievable. There's no precedent for it. Really, so, discipline of a child now and whether somebody makes a mistake like that is going to be decided by the NFL with their history?"
To those who don't understand nuance, please stop reading.
This exercise is not about defending Adrian Paterson or child abuse. It's about precedent and an elite autocrat who moves the goal posts whenever he sees fit.
If DC Comics ever decided to take on Goodell, he would be drawn as an a Manhattan aristocrat with a moral compass instead of a utility belt.
The NFLPA smells an opportunity to hurt a weakened commissioner but it's not happening.
"Litigation on some level is inevitable," NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith told Pro Football Talk after Goodell's ruling.
The Peterson penalty will stand in any court because jurists are loathe to open Pandora's Box and overturn collectively bargained agreements no matter how unfair they may seem on the surface. The union gave Goodell this power and now it's constituents are suffering because of it.
And no matter how many times you read it or hear it in other media outlets, there is no "new NFL domestic-violence policy." Goodell's previous promises that seemed to indicate a more neutral process were just lip service, pledges he now obviously has no real intention of following with one notable exception -- stiffer penalties with no recourse for the offender.
A broken clock is right twice a day but Goodell has yet to meet that lofty standard when it comes to personal-conduct issues in the NFL. In fact the only consistent thing about him to this point is the knowledge that his trusty compass is always pointing in the wrong direction.
The commish's batting average is so low he makes Mario Mendoza look like Ty Cobb and it's all because he legislates with public sentiment in mind.
Many have pointed out that Peterson is paying for his own sins as well as the ones committed by players like Ray Rice and Greg Hardy.
In reality A.P. has already been punished for his actions, at least according to a far more reputable mediator than Goodell, the State of Texas.
"This man has paid a tremendous price for making a mistake in spanking his son," Hardin said. "When is enough, enough? I would suggest enough was enough a long time ago. This is a good man who believed he was doing the right thing in raising his child and made a mistake in the process. He left no lasting injury. (A man) who has now entered the criminal justice system, who has been in the social services system.
"The NFL didn't need to do another thing. We're supposed to give people second chances, not just self-righteously blast them repeatedly."
Not in Roger's realm.
Peterson is now being served up as part sacrifice and part scapegoat to those carrying the torches and pitchforks. And perhaps more importantly, a swerve to cover-up the incompetence of one vengeful, petty man with a ring that was supposed to be kissed.
"When it's over, there is nothing the NFL is doing here except trying to make up for the horrible way they've handled domestic violence -- which this was not," said Hardin. "So all they're doing is trying to curry favor with the public, which is unbelievably self-righteous, from a man who doesn't know what he's talking about."
WEEK 12 (All Times Eastern)
Kansas City (7-3) (-7) at Oakland (0-10), Thursday, 8:30 p.m. - The Raiders haven't won a football game in a calendar year and are bogged down in the NFL's worst losing streak since 2009 when St. Louis finally ended a 17-game slide and Detroit did the same with a 19-game hiccup. Short weeks tend to favor the home team and it's almost human nature for the Chiefs to want to look ahead at next week and the Broncos. That said, Andy Reid, who is now 18-9 (including playoffs) as the head coach in K.C., is one of the best coaches in the game when it comes to preparation and Oakland just doesn't have enough firepower to deal with the Chiefs' defense.
Chiefs 24, Raiders 14
Cincinnati (6-3-1) at Houston (5-5) (-2), Sunday, 1 p.m. - The Bengals moved back into first place in the tough AFC North last week with a commanding 27-10 victory at New Orleans while the Texans evened their record at 5-5 with a 23-7 win at Cleveland. J.J. Watt continued his impressive play for Houston by registering a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a two-yard touchdown reception. He is the only player to do so in a single game since the sack became an official statistic in 1982. Watt is also the second player in NFL history with two touchdown catches, an interception-return touchdown and a fumble-return touchdown in a single season (Jay Arnold, Philadelphia, 1938). Cincinnati rookie Jeremy Hill has two 150-yard rushing games this month, one of only seven rookies ever to do that.
Texans 21, Bengals 20
Detroit (7-3) at New England (8-2) (-7), Sunday, 1 p.m. - New England is second in the NFL averaging 32.3 points per game while Detroit is allowing just 15.6 points per game, the fewest in the league. The Lions also own the NFL's best defense in total yards allowed (290.3 per game) and rushing yards allowed (68.8 per game). The Pats, meanwhile, have won six in a row and are coming off a drubbing of Indianapolis in which running back Jonas Gray rushed for 199 yards and four touchdowns in just his fourth career NFL game.
Patriots 27, Lions 20
Cleveland (6-4) at Atlanta (4-6) (-3), Sunday, 1 p.m. - It's time for the Falcons to win a game against a non-NFC South foe. Atlanta is tied atop its division thanks to a 4-0 record inside of it. The Falcons are winless outside of the South, though at 0-6. Conversely, Cleveland is in the AFC North where every team is at least two games above. 500.
Falcons 23, Browns 17
New York Jets (2-8) at Buffalo (5-5) (-4 1/2), Sunday, 1 p.m. - The Bills and Jets are planning to play despite a massive lake-effect snowstorm that buried five feet of snow just south of the city and another round coming that is expected to drop another two feet on top of that. Michael Vick is settling in as New York's QB, completing 31-of-46 passes for 328 yards and three TDs in two starts. Buffalo is trying to halt a two-game skid.
Bills 23, Jets 21
Tampa Bay (2-8) at Chicago (4-6) (-5 1/2), Sunday, 1 p.m. - Lovie Smith and Josh McCown return to Chicago. Smith coached the Bears for nine years (2004-12), amassing an 81-63 record with three playoff appearances and a Super Bowl berth. McCown started five games for an injured Jay Cutler in 2013 and set a franchise record with a 109.0 passer rating, including 13 TD passes versus one interceptions. The Bears halted a three-game skid last week with the help of a clock that didn't feel like working when the Vikings had the ball late in the game.
Bears 28, Buccaneers 20
Jacksonville (1-9) at Indianapolis (6-4) (-14), Sunday, 1 p.m. - The Colts have lost two of three and their AFC South lead is now just one game over Houston. The 1-9 Jags could prove to be a salve, however. Indy QB Andrew Luck has eight consecutive 300-yard passing games, the third longest such streak in NFL history, and has won his past four starts against Jacksonville. The Jags haven't had much to lean on outside of RB Denard Robinson, who is averaging 104.8 scrimmage yards over his last four games.
Colts 37, Jaguars 24
Green Bay (7-3) (-9 1/2) at Minnesota (4-6), Sunday, 1 p.m. - The Packers are only the second team in NFL history (1950 Rams) to score 53-or-more points in two consecutive games and things figure to stay easy for Aaron Rodgers, who has won eight of his past nine starts against the Vikings.
Packers 34, Vikings 17
Tennessee (2-8) at Philadelphia (7-3) (-11), Sunday, 1 p.m. - The Eagles will be trying to bounce back from an awful performance in Green Bay and have won nine straight at home. The Titans continue to build behind rookie QB Zach Mettenberger, who had a career-high 110.2 passer rating in a loss to Pittsburgh on Monday night.
Eagles 30, Titans 20
Arizona (9-1) at Seattle (6-4) (-6 1/2), Sunday, 4:05 p.m. - The 9-1 Cardinals will travel to Seattle to face the defending Super Bowl champions as one of only two teams to defeat the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field over the past three seasons. Seattle has won 21 of their past 23 games at home, including the playoffs, and quarterback Russell Wilson has a 101.4 passer rating in those contests.
Seahawks 26, Cardinals 17
St. Louis (4-6) at San Diego (6-4) (-4 1/2), Sunday, 4:05 p.m. - The Chargers have won seven of their past eight at home with QB Philip Rivers throwing for 2,026 passing yards with 19 TDs and a 110.0 passer rating in those games. The Rams rely on their stout front and DE Robert Quinn has five sacks and three forced fumbles in his last five games against AFC teams.
Chargers 23, Rams 17
Miami (6-4) at Denver (7-3) (-7), Sunday, 4:25 p.m. - The Dolphins have won four of five to climb back into the AFC postseason race and Ryan Tannehill has taken off recently, connecting on 161-of-229 passes for 1,730 yards and 13 TDs in his last seven contests. The Broncos have lost two of three but Peyton Manning has thrown a TD pass in 49 consecutive games, the third-longest streak in NFL history.
Broncos 27, Dolphins 20
Washington (3-7) at San Francisco (6-4) (-9), Sunday, 4:25 p.m. - The 49ers earned consecutive road wins to perhaps save their season and now face an embattled Redskins team in which no one seems to believe in QB Robert Griffin III. The San Francisco defense had five interceptions last week against Eli Manning and the Giants and leads the NFL with 16 picks overall.
49ers 27, Redskins 14
Dallas (7-3) (-3) at New York Giants (3-7), Sunday 8:30 p.m. - The Cowboys enter Week 12 tied with Philadelphia atop the NFC East with RB DeMarco Murray leading the league with 1,233 rushing yards. Murray is the only player in NFL history with at least 100 rushing yards in nine of his team's first 10 games to begin a season. The Giants haven't had much to get excited about outside of rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., who has 21 catches for 357 yards in his past three games, the second-most receiving yards in the league over that span.
Cowboys 24, Giants 20
Baltimore (6-4) at New Orleans (4-6) (-3), Monday, 8:30 p.m. - Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has won four of his past five starts on "Monday Night Football" and has won five in a row against NFC foes. His counterpart, Drew Brees, will be trying to help the Saints halt a rare two-game losing streak in the Superdome.
Saints 24, Ravens 21